2014 Alumni Awards

Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan

Four outstanding individuals nominated by their peers received the School’s highest alumni honor at this year’s Alumni Award of Merit Dinner held on October 25, 2014.

Robert Emmet Morris, MPH ’86

Robert Morris has devoted over 40 years to improving the lives of vulnerable people, especially children, refugees, victims of conflict, and those affected by HIV/AIDS. His international policy leadership has resulted in better public health systems and health outcomes worldwide, particularly in the Middle East. Morris currently works through NoMoreVictims.org, which organizes free medical care for child victims of war, and consults on care for orphans in rural Thailand. Morris and his wife, Jill, funded the start-up of Mai Tam House of Hope in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which cares for nearly 400 orphans and widows with HIV/AIDS. Morris has mentored countless students.

Judith S. Stern, SM ’66, SD ’70

Judith Stern has advanced the fields of obesity prevention and treatment through research and advocacy. An elected member of the Institute of Medicine, Stern cofounded the American Obesity Association, now part of the nonprofit Obesity Society, and has worked with the FDA and other federal organizations to develop standards on obesity and guidelines for the use of obesity drugs. At the University of California, Davis, where she serves as distinguished professor emeritus of both nutrition and internal medicine at the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Stern has mentored three generations of undergraduate and graduate students.

Ravi I. Thadhani, MPH ’97

Ravi Thadhani, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital, is a world-renowned researcher and academician. His contributions in the field of nephrology combine clinical and translational studies, going beyond typical epidemiological data and opening new opportunities in kidney research. In the field of preeclampsia, Thadhani has conducted large clinical studies and has developed a diagnostic test that is being used in clinics in Europe. More recently, he has focused on novel therapies and diagnostics to alleviate the symptoms of preeclampsia and to prolong pregnancy in women with the condition.

Anthony F. Vuturo, MPH ’71

Anthony Vuturo has strengthened family medicine through work with the U.S. government, World Bank, Pan American Health Organization, private sector, and University of Arizona Medical Center and College of Medicine. A founding College of Medicine faculty member, he is now professor emeritus. He also cofounded what is now the University of Arizona Health Network, led the creation of the first and only nationally accredited college of public health in Arizona, and was instrumental in establishing a partnership between UA and China’s Nanjing Normal University. He is senior vice president of Canyon Ranch Health Resorts and president of VSF International, a health care consultancy to governments worldwide. Three additional alumni awards were presented during lunch on October 25 to recognize achievements in various arenas of public health and at various stages in public health careers.

Leadership in Public Health Practice Award

2014 award-winners
Murray Mittleman, MPH ’90, DPH ’94; with Margo Wootan, SD ’93

Margo Wootan, SD ’93, has directed, guided, and participated in a multitude of nutrition-related public health initiatives that have led to improvements in the health of millions of Americans, especially children. As director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Wootan cofounded and coordinates the activities of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity, made up of more than 400 local, state, and national organizations advocating for policies and programs that promote healthy eating and physical activity. Among other activities, she has also spearheaded efforts to limit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children.

Public Health Innovator Award

Murray Allen Mittleman, MPH ’90, DPH ’94, has conducted groundbreaking research in the application of analytical methods to the study of adverse health triggers, including cardiovascular events, and his innovations have opened new vistas in epidemiology. He played a seminal role in the development of case-crossover study designs and expanded the use of the case-crossover method in several areas, including studies of the health effects of air pollution. An epidemiologist and chair of the MPH program at the School, Mittleman is an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Chan, and holds several positions at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Emerging Public Health Professional Award

Jacqueline Nwando Olayiwola, MPH ’05, is an expert in practice transformation and systems redesign. A faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, she is associate director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care. She previously spent several years at Community Health Center, Inc. (CHC), the largest federally qualified health center network in Connecticut. Olayiwola brought academic rigor to CHC as a health services and practice-based researcher focused on disparities, vulnerable and disenfranchised populations, access to care, and translation of research into policy, while mentoring numerous community health professionals and trainees.

Jan Reiss